Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Global Healing

There is nothing better in life than to have UPS deliver a book from amazon.com to your front door.

That statement is false. Surely there are better things in life than that and, if not, then I need to get a life!

It is a good thing in life to have a package, in which is a book, delivered to one's front door. True. And, tt happened a few minutes ago. Not one, but two books arrived.

The first is The Path of Philosophy: Truth, Wonder, and Distress, by John Marmysz. As a philosophy professor I receive a lot of complimentary texts to evaluate for my classes. Sometimes this marketing strategy works, since I chose new texts for both my logic and philosophy of religion classes as a result of receiving review copies. I started reading the Marmysz book - there are some sections that will interest me.

The second is Candy Gunther Brown's awaited Global Pentecostal and Charismatic Healing. This book, in its entirety, will be required reading for anyone seriously interested in divine healing.

I'm now reading Candy's opening chapter: "Introduction: Pentecostalism and the Globalization of Illness and Healing." She begins by citing the Pew Forum's "Spirit and Power: A 10-Country Survey of Pentecostals" (2006). Here are a few points.
  • More than a quarter of the world's 2 billion Christians identify themselves as Pentecostals of Charismatics.
  • More than any other factor, divine healing distinguishes Pentecostals and Charismatics from other Christians.
  • In the 10 countries surveyed, more than 70% of the Pentecostals in 8 out of 10 "reported having personally experienced or witnessed the divine healing of an illness or injury."
  • In the U.S. "62% of Pentecostals reported personal experience with divine healing."
  • "According to other polls, 70-80 percent of the total U.S. population believes in divine healing."
  • "In the Latin American, Asian, and African countries where pentecostal growth is  most rapidly, as many as 80-90 percent of first-generation Christians attribute their conversions primarily to having received divine healing for themselves or a family member." (3)
  • "As multidirectional processes of globalization accelerate and as Christians in the global South increasingly influence North American Christianity, divine healing will likely become even more prominent in U.S. churches in the twenty-first century." (Ib.)
This is going to be a valuable book for me. Sometimes I shake my head and see where, theologically, I have come from. Out of no background or experience in the area of healing (in spite of the multiple incidences of healing in the four Gospels) I am now in the midst of it, and loving it.